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Which State to approach for nomination in the Business Innovation Stream?

Australia’s States and Territories stopped accepting subclass 188 business nomination applications in April during the lockdown.  By the grace of God, they will open their doors to nomination applications for the financial year commencing 1 July 2020.

Spread of the Covid19 virus has been stopped in Australia and most restrictions are being lifted.  Governments are allowing schools, clubs, cafés, restaurants, motels, and most business premises to resume operations albeit subject to limits until the next stage of easing restrictions in July.

All indications are that we should commence preparing applications for lodgement in the new financial year.

188 Business Innovation Stream

It is possible to qualify for the subclass 188 visa under the business innovation stream without showing any innovation in your business or proposed business plan and still achieve a score high enough to qualify for the visa.  The application turns on the particulars of a person’s business background and career.

The Department of Home Affairs has general requirements you must satisfy before you approach a State or Territory for nomination.  First, your nomination application must demonstrate that you satisfy the general criteria such as minimum ownership and control of your business and a minimum turnover of AUD$500,000.  Further, you must demonstrate you have at least AUD$800,000 available for your proposed business and settling your family in Australia.

However, each State and Territory has additional requirements if you want their nomination to live and run your business in their region of Australia.  You also must consider the business environment and opportunities in the State or Territory and some State prescribed requirements are higher than the general requirements of the Department of Home Affairs for the grant of a subclass 188 visa.

Here is a brief comparison of key differences in their additional requirements if you are considering Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, or South Australia.

Queensland requirements for State Nomination – Business Innovation Stream  

You must demonstrate that:

i) you have net business and personal assets of at least A$800,000 to be transferred to Queensland within 2 years of the visa being granted;

ii) you will invest at least $200,000 after your visa is granted; and

iii) you are committed to living in Queensland;

furthermore:

iv) entry level small retail business, such as convenience stores, cafes and restaurants are only accepted if your proposed business is established in regional Queensland;

v) a general importing business will not be accepted unless the imported products are highly innovative, advanced in technology, or currently unavailable in Queensland. You also must provide a value-adding service to the imported products such as customised design, product assembly installation, testing, repair, maintenance, etc.;

vi) property development businesses are not acceptable.

New South Wales requirements for State Nomination – Business Innovation Stream

Meet all Department of Home Affairs requirements and these State of NSW requirements.

Your net personal and business assets:

If your proposed business will be in:

  • Sydney – you (or you and your spouse combined) must have net personal and business assets of at least AUD$1.3 million
  • Regional NSW – you (or you and your spouse combined) must have net personal and business assets of at least AUD$800,000

Your business investment:

If your proposed business will be in:

    • Sydney – at least A$500,000;
    • Regional NSW – at least A$300,000; and
    • your business investment must be in property, plant, equipment, inventory, or purchased goodwill


Victoria requirements for State Nomination – Business Innovation Stream

To receive State of Victoria nomination you must be under 55 years of age and score at least 80 points under the subclass 188 Business Innovation stream.

Business activity

You may propose almost any commercial endeavour, but some business activities may be excluded, such as:

      • small scale property development
      • small scale freight forwarding and warehousing
      • commodity and scrap metal export
      • passive investments

Where you are proposing an export business, your business plan must demonstrate how your business will provide a direct contribution to the Victorian economy, such as through:

      • the export value of Victorian goods and services;
      • Victorian jobs created or retained, including flow-on effects to other Victorian suppliers;
      • the local economic benefits of the business;
      • assistance to Victorian businesses in exporting their products or addressing market gaps;
      • expansion of export markets.

You must not engage in ‘grey market’ or ‘parallel exporting’.

Your funds

You are required to declare that you have no less than AUD$400,000 available for business and AUD$200,000 available for settlement activity.

You must demonstrate a genuine commitment to reside in Victoria and demonstrate you understand the commercial challenges in your proposed business in Victoria.

Victoria permits 188 Business Innovation visa holders to change their business activity from that originally proposed in their nomination application.

South Australia requirements for State Nomination – Business Innovation Stream

To receive State of South Australia nomination, you must meet all Department of Home Affairs requirements and visit South Australia before you apply for nomination.

Evidence must be provided at time of application. Your application must include an exploratory visit itinerary and details on the outcome of your visit to South Australia.

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You should consult an immigration lawyer and have your circumstances assessed if you are genuinely interested in Australia’s Business Innovation Visa program.

In my experience, there is increased interest in migrating to Australia in times of economic or social disruption as we are experiencing worldwide because of the pandemic.  There may be a rush of applications in July.

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